Now on view at Grounds For Sculpture (GFS), Rebirth: Kang Muxiang is an exhibition of six large-scale sculptures by Taiwanese artist, Kang Muxiang sited outdoors in the gardens. Massive yet graceful, the embryonic forms are made from steel elevator cables from Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. The works range in size, with the largest standing nearly ten feet tall and weighing several thousand pounds.
Kang began his artistic practice with traditional woodcarving at the age of 13. Eventually turning to other media, the artist has also worked in bronze and stainless steel. In 2002, Kang spent a year living a largely solitary and primitive lifestyle on Guishan (Turtle Island), off the coast of Taiwan. This experience motivated him to create his Life series of sculptures that explores how our way of life impacts future generations.
In 2013 Kang was invited by Taipei 101 to create art using expired cables from the building’s elevators. Coated in black viscous oil from their long use, the elevator cables must be cleaned, as the first step in the artist’s process. To aid with this process, Kang employs inmates from a minimum-security prison in a program that renews not just the worn cables but also the assistants’ spirits and sense of purpose.
“We are honored to host this series of Kang’s work,” says Tom Moran, Chief Curator at Grounds For Sculpture, “His beautiful, organic forms are in harmony with the surrounding landscape, and though he’s using industrial, nearly unwilling material, his sculptures hold grace, poise, and invoke a sense of tranquility.” Rebirth, on view through Feb. 2021, comes to Grounds For Sculpture following exhibitions in Washington, D.C. and the Garment District in New York City.
“Kang’s themes of adaptive reuse and reimagination align with our evolution from a once-abandoned fairgrounds to the Grounds For Sculpture of today,” says Gary Garrido Schneider, Executive Director of Grounds For Sculpture, “It also honors the long history of our region, when nearly 200 years ago, John Roebling began making wire rope in nearby Trenton.” The Roebling Works, formerly located a short distance from Grounds For Sculpture, created the cables that still support the Brooklyn, George Washington and Golden Gate bridges.
Rebirth: Kang Muxiang is organized by GFS as a part of a series of projects that affirm the institution’s commitment to reflecting the diversity of its region and the dynamic world around it, using art to encourage understanding and to unite people across cultures. The installation was generously supported by the Taiwan Land Development Corporation and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.